Poor Sitting Posture Could Ruin Your Back

Written by: 
Sheillar Mutetsi


Poor sitting posture, bending, lifting heavy loads or sleeping on soft and curved mattresses could lead to chronic back pain, a doctor has explained.

Several students at Makerere University have been complaining about back pain. Brian Tumukunde, a year two journalism student claims his pain started three days into his examinations. End of semester exams started on November 19.

Tumukunde attributes the pain  to a poor sitting posture while reading  in preparation for his examinations. He has since dealt with it by massaging especially during his free time though the relief is usually short lived.

Vivian Agaba, a library and information science student, thinks her back pain is got from sitting on the bed for a long time as she reads.

"I don't own a reading table and so I have to sit on my bed to read, but after that I have to lay on my back to get some relief. However my pain doesn't last long, it is on and off,” she says.

Dr. Mathias Tumwebaze, an orthopaedist at Mulago Hospital, says back pain can be caused by soft and curved mattresses, poor sitting and bending  postures or menstrual cycles.

Dr Tumwebaze adds that when one is reading, they are encouraged to sit upright with the reading material held right in front of them and this can only be done in libraries, and other gazetted reading places.

When the ligaments are overstretched, explains Dr Tumwebaze, then there is back pain. “A soft tissue called a disc cartilage moves from its position and touches the nerves that are rubbed by bones and one feels pain in the back,” he says.

According to Doctor Dan Mwesigye from Mbarara Hospital, back pain can as well result from carrying heavy things on the back, especially when they are not balanced.

He adds that it is common among students to carry heavy backpacks with books on one side. The body needs to balance, so if it is one side that is loaded then there will be straining.

According to Word Health Organization, back pain that is not chronic especially among people in the age bracket of 18-28, always takes a short time like weeks or months and it is on and off. It can be got from exercising on rough ground, driving for long hours and sitting on poorly made chairs.

It says that massages, using corsets that support the back in case it is severe could be of help to the victims.

Dr Tumwebaze advises students to use physiotherapy where they make exercises, use muscle relaxants like pain balms and painkillers to get relief from back pain.


Photo from Stanford.edu